57th NorthWest Mathematics Conference

Whistler, BC, Canada - October 18-20, 2018

Featured Speakers

Tracy Zager (@tracyzager)

Tracy is the author of Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had: Ideas and Strategies from Vibrant Classrooms (Stenhouse, 2017), which grew out of Tracy's work with her colleagues as a math coach, and before that with pre-service teachers and their in-service mentors. Tracy is most in her element in classrooms, learning together with teachers and students over time. She currently splits her time between coaching and editing professional development books for teachers. While she loves her work dearly, she still secretly pines for her fourth-grade classroom and hopes to return to full-time teaching someday.


Thursday October 18th, 7:30pm-9:00pm @ MacDonald A-B-C (Fairmont)
Keynote: How Will We Know What They're Thinking?
Curiosity about students’ thinking is the heart of effective, joyful math teaching. There are four channels via which we can learn about student thinking: student work, observations, conferences, and students' self-assessments. We’ll explore how to open these channels even when using resources that don’t prioritize formative assessment. We’ll get hooked on listening to students’ thinking!
Friday October 19th, 10:30am-11:15am @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)
Session (General): Not Just Answering Somebody Else's Questions
Mathematics is full of wonder, discovery, and curiosity, but most students think math is all about answering and hardly about questioning. What can we learn from teachers whose students ask and answer their own math questions; who pose problems as well as solve them? We’ll explore several practical strategies for teaching mathematical content while promoting mathematical curiosity and inquiry.

Annie Fetter (@MFAnnie)

I worked on the project that developed the first version of the Geometer’s Sketchpad and was a founding staff member of the Math Forum until it ended in 2017. Currently I consult with schools, districts, states, a world-famous museum, and a children’s chorus (no kidding!) and speak at conferences, encouraging a focus on mathematical sense-making and leveraging students’ idea. I also work part-time for the 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education, continuing the Math Forum’s work on two NSF grants.

My very first Ignite talk, “Ever Wonder What They’d Notice?", has been used in countless PD session around the world. I believe that doing math, just like cooking, playing music, enjoying the great outdoors, and drinking excellent beer, is best done with people you love.


Friday October 19th, 5:00pm-6:00pm @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)
Saturday October 20th, 7:00am-8:15am @ MacDonald A-B (Fairmont)
Breakfast Keynote: Is Sense-Making at the Core of Your Classroom? (Ticketed event)
Are your students making sense of the mathematics they explore? Do they feel that mathematics is an inherently sensible endeavor? We’ll look at ways in which students don’t make sense of mathematics, consider why, and discuss strategies for making it a larger part of the expectations in your classroom.

Nat Banting (@NatBanting)

Nat Banting is a mathematics teacher in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and a M.Ed. graduate in Secondary Math Education from the University of Alberta. He sits on the executive of the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers’ Society and co-edits The Variable, the SMTS periodical.

Nat spends most of his time picking at the seams of mathematics class and shares his teaching practice across the country through various writing projects, speaking opportunities, and social media platforms. He blogs about teaching math at natbanting.com/blog, tweets as @NatBanting, and curates the online resource fractiontalks.com.

The rest of his time is spent playing mini-sticks and reading picture books with his two young children as well as coaching football, playing Spikeball, and cheering for his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.


Friday October 19th, 11:30am-12:15pm @ Emerald C (Westin)
Session (Secondary): Creativity out of Context: Teaching Flexible Thinking with Algebraic Content
Algebra is often introduced with contexts like block patterns or projectiles, but this can limit the creative space to tinker with parameters and understand the fallout. Together we will explore ways to build problems (suitable for Grades 9-12) that ask students to act in creative, critical, and flexible ways as they play with expressions, equations, and functions as purely algebraic objects.
Saturday October 20th, 11:30am-12:30pm @ MacDonald A-B (Fairmont)
Closing Keynote: Teaching Spaces: Creating Mathematical Possibility by Constraining Mathematical Possibility
Dense mathematical activity is often associated with open problems, and seldomly do we, as teachers, associate limitations on student actions with an increase in mathematical possibility. However, to close the NorthWest Mathematics Conference we will turn our attention to the generative possibilities of constraints and how we might begin to harness them in our teaching. In this way, our take-away will be about how to take away. By working on tasks together, we will encounter ways in which playing with what is forbidden can open doors to rich mathematical thinking.

Marian Small (@marian_small)

Marian Small, the former Dean of Education at the University of New Brunswick, writes and speaks about K-12 math across the country. Her focus is on teacher questioning to get at the important math, to include all students, and to focus on critical thinking and creativity.

Some resources she has written include Making Math Meaningful for Canadian Students: K-8, Big Ideas from Dr. Small (at several levels), Good Questions: A Great Way to Differentiate Math Instruction, More Good Questions: A Great Way to Differentiate Secondary Math Instruction, Eyes on Math, Gap Closing (for the Ministry of Education in Ontario), Leaps and Bounds toward Math Understanding (at several levels), Uncomplicating Fractions, Uncomplicating Algebra, Building Proportional Reasoning, Open Questions for the Three-Part Lesson (at several levels), Fun and Fundamental Math for Young Children, The School Leader’s Guide for Building and Sustaining Math Success, and MathUp, a new digital teaching K – 8 resource.


Friday October 19th, 8:30am-9:15am @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)
Session (General): Why I Have Written MathUp!
I have written lots of books and lots of teaching programs in the past. Let me share with you why one of my newest resources, MathUp, is so special to me and how it is alike and different from things I have written before.
Friday October 19th, 12:45pm-2:25pm @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)
Session (General): It's All About the Follow-Up - Not the Task!
No matter the grade level, teachers try to find “rich tasks” for students to work on. But I’m not sure there is such a thing . What can be rich is how you handle the conversation with the students, the feedback you give, and the follow-up questions you ask. Using examples drawn from all levels, we will look at how to make a task rich.
Friday October 19th, 5:00pm-6:00pm @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)

Graham Fletcher (@gfletchy)

Graham Fletcher has served in education as a classroom teacher, a math coach, and currently as a math specialist. He is continually seeking new and innovative ways to support students and teachers in their development of conceptual understanding in elementary mathematics. The best part about Graham is that he is from Canada.


Friday October 19th, 2:45pm-4:25pm @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)
Session (General): Teaching on the Edge of Understanding and at the Speed of Learning
There are many things to consider when we engage students in mathematics. Why do we choose one task over another, how do we know which ones work, and what drives our decision-making? The purposeful use and sequence of the right tasks can unlock what students know and inform our next move in the progression of learning.
Saturday October 20th, 9:30am-11:10am @ Frontenac B (Fairmont)
Session (Primary): The Power of Progressions: Untangling the Knotty Areas of Learning Mathematics
As more teachers look to add high-yield tasks to their repertoire, the struggle to make it all work becomes real. Let's examine how problem-based lessons can be used throughout the scope of a unit and how we can harness their power to move student thinking forward.

Michael Fenton (@mjfenton)

Michael Fenton is a leader in mathematics education with a passion for designing engaging learning experiences. He serves as Lead Instructional Designer for Desmos, a leader in digital mathematics tools and curriculum. Drawing on his experience as a classroom teacher, graduate school instructor, curriculum writer, and professional development consultant, Michael explores how to use technology to spark curiosity, creativity, and collaboration. He graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in General Mathematics and holds a Master of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in Mathematics. Michael currently lives in Fresno, CA, with his beautiful wife and four energetic children.


Friday October 19th, 5:00pm-6:00pm @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)
Saturday October 20th, 9:30am-11:10am @ MacDonald A-B (Fairmont)
Session (Secondary): Principles for Building and Using Effective Digital Tasks
What do the most powerful digital math tasks have in common? What teacher moves allow students to get the most out of any lesson? In this session, we’ll consider answers to these questions and use the Desmos Activity Builder as a lens for exploring the intersection of computers, teaching, and math.

Christina Tondevold (@BuildMathMinds)

Christina Tondevold is a Recovering Traditionalist.  She previously taught mathematics traditionally and expected the students to parrot back what she taught them.  Now she gets to work with teachers in developing students’ mathematical understandings in ways that are not limited by the traditional ways of doing and teaching mathematics through her site BuildMathMinds.com where you can get PD in Your PJs.


Friday October 19th, 8:30am-10:10am @ MacDonald A (Fairmont)
Session (Primary): Stop Teaching Strategies, Start Teaching Sense
Too often students have been taught multiple strategies but then never use them or get them all confused. This session will investigate how we can teach addition and subtraction so that children develop strategies in a manner that makes sense and lays a solid foundation which can be transferred to addition and subtraction of all numbers.
Saturday October 20th, 8:30am-9:15am @ Frontenac B (Fairmont)
Session (Primary): Designing Your Math Time to Meet the Needs of ALL Students
The demands of teaching our diverse learners has lead many of us to constantly be looking for something new to try with our students, but there are really just 3 things that you need to be doing during your math time that will not only help you cover the content you need to teach but also meet your students where they are in order to help them build their math minds.

Fawn Nguyen (@fawnpnguyen)

Fawn is a middle school math teacher at Mesa Union Junior High in southern California. She's been a teacher since 1990. She was the 2014 Ventura County Teacher of the Year. In 2009, she was awarded the Math Teacher Hero from Raytheon. In 2005, she was awarded the Sarah D. Barder Fellowship from the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

Fawn blogs about her lessons and classroom teaching at fawnnguyen.com. Fawn authors three websites for teachers: visualpatterns.org, between2numbers.com, and mathtalks.net. She is also one of the editors for mathblogging.org. She has been on the leadership team of the UC-Santa Barbara Mathematics Project since 2005. In 2012, she co-founded the Math Teachers' Circle in Thousand Oaks, California. Fawn served as a committee member of NCTM's Professional Development Services Committee (PDSC) during 2015-2018.


Friday October 19th, 12:45pm-2:25pm @ Emerald C (Westin)
Session (Middle/Junior): Enriching Your Math Curriculum to Empower Students
We will work with visual patterns to develop algebraic reasoning and engage in number talks to develop number sense and flexible thinking. We will experience productive struggle through rich and challenging tasks. We will implement a curriculum that endeavors to make math social, one that values collaboration and encourages play and risk taking.
Saturday October 20th, 10:30am-11:15am @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)
Session (Middle/Junior): Conway Tangles
We'll play with ropes, get all tangled up and then try to untangle ourselves by doing maths!

Dan Finkel (@MathforLove)

Dan Finkel is the Founder of Math for Love, a Seattle-based organization devoted to transforming how math is taught and learned. Dan develops curriculum, leads teacher workshops, and gives talks on mathematics and education nationally and internationally. His TEDx Talk, 5 Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching, has been viewed over half a million times. His puzzles have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Hindu, and as TED-Ed riddles.

Dan’s curriculum has been used by thousands of students in Seattle and other districts, and is known for its combination of rigor and play. The math games he co-created with his wife, Katherine Cook, have won over 20 awards. They include Prime Climb, the beautiful, colorful, mathematical board game, and Tiny Polka Dot, the colorful math game for children.


Friday October 19th, 2:45pm-4:25pm @ MacDonald D (Fairmont)
Session (Primary): Playful Exploration to Deep Questions
Play may be one of the most effective ways to explore new situations and make connections. In this session, we will develop structures and strategies to connect hands-on exploration and deep mathematical questions. We’ll also explore how the same manipulatives and tools can remain relevant and dynamic across a span of different grade levels and topics.
Saturday October 20th, 9:30am-11:10am @ Harmony B (Four Seasons)
Session (Intermediate): Making and Breaking Conjectures: supercharge thinking in your math classroom
Making conjectures and disproving them with counterexamples provides a pathway to deeper mathematical understanding, persistence, and student ownership of their ideas. Learn how employing this playful routine can help to build a classroom culture that values skepticism, discussion, and learning from mistakes.

Chris Shore (@MathProjects)

Chris Shore is an experienced mathematics teacher and presenter. He has taught high school algebra and geometry for 29 years and knows how to effectively engage adolescents in the mathematics classroom.

Since 1997, he has been the Editor in Chief of The Math Projects Journal, a professional newsletter offering math lesson plans, discussion of relevant topics, and contributions from teachers worldwide. Chris is the author of several education articles as well as the books, MPJ’s Ultimate Math Lessons and Clothesline Math: The Number Sense Maker.

As a leader for implementing instructional change, Chris has made presentations nationwide to teachers and administrators on a variety of educational topics such as the Standards of Mathematical Practices and effective strategies to reach all students. For almost a decade he was the Math Department Chair at the highest performing school in the county. His vision has led schools to significant improvement in student learning.

Chris is a California Awardee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and has been honored as the Riverside County Outstanding Math Teacher. He currently serves as the Math Specialist for the Temecula Valley Unified School District.



Friday October 19th, 8:30am-10:10am @ MacDonald B (Fairmont)
Session (Intermediate): Clothesline Math for Elementary School
Clothesline Math for Elementary has arrived! Let's play with counting numbers, place value, decimals and order of operations on the open number line.
Friday October 19th, 5:00pm-6:00pm @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)
Saturday October 20th, 8:30am-9:15am @ Frontenac A (Fairmont)
Session (Secondary): Making Group Work Work with Less Work
The 21st Century Classroom calls for a great deal of student collaboration. Would you like your groups to be more on-task and productive? Learn very practical principles on WHY to group, WHICH group structures to use, HOW to manage your groups, and WHEN to group.

Stephen Jull (@stephenjull)

Hi! I'm the COO/CFO at GeoGebra ...which basically means that I get to work with and across all our amazing teams.

The best part of my role on the team is helping to coordinate and support our community and many partners, circumnavigating the world (from my devices :) every day of the year!

When I am not hanging out in GeoGebra I can usually be seen chasing my kids around the garden or heading off on some new family adventure from our base on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Feel free to get in touch to talk about any and all things GeoGebra stephen@geogebra.org. I'm always happy to share news and discuss how we can help new joiners get the most out of being a part of this amazing global community.


Saturday October 20th, 8:30am-9:15am @ Macdonald E (Fairmont)
Session (General): GeoGebra: What if the moon were a cube and other unanswered questions
Early in my teaching career a mentor teacher said to me, ‘You know your students are leading the learning process when you can step back and have a cup of tea.’ The question really is, how do we engage our students in a way that allows them to lead the learning process. For us at GeoGebra, a big part of it is in making math meaningful and opening up the world of math through exploration and unanswered questions. In this session we will explore some of the amazing constructions created and shared by the teachers and students of our community from around the world and here, in beautiful BC.